Over two years ago, as part of a directed study with Anabel Quan-Haase, I began interviewing historians about their reading habits. I was part of her graduate course on Technology and Society the previous semester, where I began thinking about all the ways that the digital tools available to today’s scholars would have changed my undergraduate degree experience (keeping in mind this was only just over a decade ago!). I knew nothing about the digital humanities at this point, and was going to attend my first THATCamp, in Chicago, just after starting this research.
My how things have changed! Over the time that it took us to complete this study, I have entered the PhD LIS program at Western, co-organized two THATCamps and a Digital Humanities Speakers Series, met an amazing group of friends at uni who have monthly DH Off Campus meetings, and am part of the team involved in the process of converting a bus into a mobile makerspace.
The first paper about historians and their reading habits has just been published by JASIST and can be accessed here. My experience talking to these scholars was invaluable – I learned so much about their information seeking and searching behavior, the importance of the physical, and the realities about their library use. Their comments on browsing and the chance encounter with information led me to continue collecting data, the results of which will be analyzed very soon. If you have the time to give it a read, please do, and let us know what you think about it with a comment, or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.